Overdue Ovation for Pat Senatore

“So much experience and so much knowledge”

Pat Senatore

Pat Senatore photo by Bob Barry

photo by Bob Barry

If not for one hard-nosed violin teacher, this profile of Pat Senatore might be appearing in Gramophone instead of JazzTimes. The bassist, a mainstay of the Los Angeles jazz scene for 55 years and a veteran of bands led by Stan Kenton, Les Brown and Herb Alpert, began his musical training at age 5 in his hometown of Newark, N.J. “My dad was from the old school,” says Senatore, now 79. “It was his wish that I play the violin, because he thought that was the most important guy in the orchestra. So I studied with this Italian teacher who was really very hard to deal with. If I didn’t have my lesson down, he would lock me in a room and I would have to practice. That was pretty heavy, so by the time I was 10, I said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’”

In grammar school, Senatore made the acquaintance of Wayne Shorter, with whom he has maintained a lifelong friendship. Both students displayed such creative aptitude that they were accepted into Newark Arts High School, alma mater to jazz totems including Sarah Vaughan and Woody Shaw. Senatore also spent many teenage evenings attending less formal educational institutions. “I’d go to Birdland, and I had phony ID. You had to be 18 years old; I was 16 and looked 14. … The music just spoke to me, and from then on that was my whole life.” He likewise recalls encountering Scott LaFaro during that iconic bassist’s stand at the Village Vanguard with the Bill Evans Trio. “I was pretty stoned when I went there the first night,” Senatore admits, “and I just thought I was hallucinating. I never heard anyone play the bass like that. Then I went back the next night completely sober, and I was gonna go home and forget about ever playing the bass again. That was my real first influence, as far as setting the standard.”

In 1960 Senatore made his way to L.A. Due to strict union rules keeping outsiders from poaching local gigs, he established his residency while working at the now-defunct Wallichs Music City, a Hollywood record store, ingratiating himself with union reps and playing in jam sessions. Senatore’s first major gig was with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, in which he’d record several albums, including 1962’s classic Adventures in Jazz. “Stan really had a passion for what he did,” Senatore recalls. “He lost numerous wives to the road, but it was the utmost thing in his life. His wasn’t what you would call a bebop band; it was more of a sounds band. He was really trying to be progressive. He prided himself in that, trying to move the music in different directions.” Kenton’s influence has stayed with the bassist in a more personal way as well: In the bandleader’s honor, Senatore and his first wife named their eldest son Kenton. (He’d find his own fame as a teenager during the ’70s, as professional skateboarder “Kent” Senatore.)

To read the rest of this story, purchase the issue in print or from the Apple Newsstand. Print and digital subscriptions are also available.

Midwest Record Entertainment

Reprinted from:
Midwest Music

Ascensione on CD BabyPAT SENATORE TRIO/Ascensione: I don’t normally associate grandpas with sessions on Fresh Sound but you have to make an exception for this cat who you’ve heard plenty of without knowing. A member of the Tijuana Brass, a gig that eventually led to him currently being the music director for Herb Alpert’s jazz hangout, he’s played bass with everyone for the last fifty years plus, and there’s still no dust on him. A sitting down jazz set in the best possible way, Senatore is playing for the art and has more than that special something that let’s you know he’s a cat that understands art and doesn’t use it for a crutch or excuse to be precious. A delightfully breath taking set, this is an old pro not ready to go gently into that good night. A winner throughout.

Picks of the Week: Sept. 24 – 28

By Don Heckman

As the warm days of September wind to a close, while autumn is just beginning to arrive, the bookings are light at clubs and concert venues around the world, but there’s still some very special music to hear.

Los Angeles

Pat Senatore

Pat Senatore

– Sept. 25. (Thurs.) Pat Senatore Trio. Bassist Senatore and his trio – pianist Josh Nelson and drummer Mark Ferber play selections from his exciting new album Ascensione and a forecast of what to expect from his up-coming, soon to be released CD. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Pat Senatore Trio: Ascensione


by George W. Harris • October 2, 2014

ascensioneBecause I live in LA, I’ve probably seen bassist Pat Senatore more times in concert during my lifetime than any other bassist. He was the house bassist for his own club in Malibu during the 70s and 80s, and currently has been the part of the rhythm section for guests that drop in at the Bel Air club Vibrato where he manages as well. Not only that, but you’ve probably heard him a gazillion times yourselves, as he was a part of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass that played major hits like “Lonely Bull” and “A Taste of Honey” so you’re no stranger to him as well.

This studio session with local studs Josh Nelson/p and Mark Ferber/dr comes off like a typical cozy night at the local jazz club. A tasty mixture of jazz standards and originals focuses on classy interplay, such as Ferber’s gently rollicking rolls on Michel Petrucciani’s “Sahara” or the lithe bop on “Con Alma” and “Minority.” Nelson’s piano work here shows why he’s the #1 call in town for supporting vocalists as he delivers melodic and subtle harmonic support on “Night Dreamer” and shows some wonderful lyricism on his own “A Change in the Wind.” And Senatore? You gotta be kidding? He’s the consummate gentleman, knowing when to deliver a subtle little solo are create a hip rivulet of a groove as on the hip “All The Things You Are.” This album makes you want to hire them next time you feel like singing for your friends or pulling out your sax and blowing for your next get together.

As Sonny Rollins once said, “Albums are an invitation to your concerts.” Consider this one as a tweet to head out to Vibrato’s.

Fresh Sound Records